October 01, 2012, 3:21 AM — Oracle is updating its widely used open source MySQL database, and a range of associated products, in order to meet the increasing demands of Web users.
In the past decade, "The Web has transitioned from just serving Web pages to actually providing critical services," said Tomas Ulin, Oracle vice president of MySQL engineering. "You expect your e-mail to always be available, for your Facebook account to always be available. Ten years ago, it was acceptable to hit reload on your browser. Now you expect your page to come up immediately."
For its first MySQL Connect conference, held over the weekend in San Francisco, Oracle has released a number of updates to its line of MySQL technologies. It has posted a release candidate (RC) for the next version of the database, MySQL 5.6, as well as a developer milestone of the next version of MySQL that runs across multiple servers, MySQL Cluster 7.3. It has also updated its MySQL Enterprise package for commercial clients. All these updates feature new technologies designed to boost database readiness.
The MySQL 5.6 RC offers a nearly complete version of MySQL 5.6, which will probably be released in its final state within the next few months. This version comes with a number of significant features. Through the use of the Memcached API (application programming interface), MySQL can now offer a speedy way to store and retrieve database entries, one that should rival the performance of NoSQL databases.
"We can get really good performant NoSQL access whilst having the strength and power of SQL. We think that is a unique offering," Ulin said.
Oracle also worked at making MySQL faster. The MySQL Optimizer has new techniques of selecting, sorting and returning results in a more efficient way. The underlying InnoDB storage engine has been refactored to handle concurrency better, which will make MySQL more suitable for heavily loaded OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) systems and read-only workloads. InnoDB also features full-text search, which should speed searches for words and phrases.
Another new feature that should please heavy users of MySQL is the new ability to execute DDL (Data Definition Language) operations without taking offline the database tables being changed. "If you want to alter your schema, add or drop a column to your schema, or rename a column, you typically had to bring down the database, alter it and bring it up," Ulin said. "With online DDL, you don't have to think about that. The table will be available through that period."
In addition to the MySQL 5.6 release candidate, Oracle also updated a number of related MySQL products.